Friendship transcends mere companionship to reach a more elevated goal – that of a shared vision or a common question.
For the former Unitarian minister, relations with other people evoke in us the call towards both truth and tenderness, asking at their highest level not for daintiness, but for the ‘roughest courage.
‘This parting from the living brings constant pain,’ wrote eighth-century Chinese poet Du Fu in an ode to friendship about his separation from Li Bai, who was in exile in the south of the country.
Loneliness and separation are two enduring themes of poet James Wright’s work, which is one of the reasons why this poem, A Blessing, is so uplifting. In the late 1950s, Wright had all but given up on his writing when he met fellow poet Robert Bly, and the two men formed a friendship and a… Continue reading A Blessing by James Wright
After Walt Whitman suffered a stroke at the age of 54, he spent his time immersed in nature as he slowly recovered his health. This passage from the collection of his notes and sketches called Specimen Days is a beautiful meditation on trees and their eloquence, endurance and imperturbability. ‘It is, yet says nothing,’ he… Continue reading The Lesson of a Tree – Walt Whitman
Solnit pays tribute to the color that fills the space between herself and the object of her longing, and reflects on how this blue can in some ways be understood as love itself.
Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn suggests that evil is not something manifested by wicked people, rather it perpetuates with the conventions that we absorb from childhood.
Lao Tzu said, ‘The further one travels, the less one knows,’ a sentiment echoed by Stephen Dunn in his poem Tangier: that there is no salvation in elsewhere but rather in the immediacy of our very own doorsteps. However, could the depletion of knowledge also be a kind of positive opening to the world in which… Continue reading Counting Cats in Zanzibar: Why We Should Travel
Flash prose from writers around the world about isolation in the time of COVID-19